The following is a list of African-American interest books for young readers; compiled from publisher responses to our October PW Call for Information, these titles are publishing between September 2016 and March 2017. Also see our list of African-American interest books for adults.


Ada Twist, Scientist (Sept., $17.95) by Andrea Beaty, illus. by David Roberts. When Ada’s house fills with a horrific smell, she embarks on a mission to discover the source through scientific experiments. Ages 5-7.

Pathfinders: The Journeys of 16 Extraordinary Black Souls (Jan., $24.95) by Tonya Bolden offers a collective biography of 16 diverse African-American men and women who made their mark on American history in the 18th to 20th centuries. Ages 10-14.


Iron Cast (Oct., $17.95) by Destiny Soria reimagines Prohibition-era Boston through the eyes of hemopaths—people with magical abilities--Corinne and Ada, whose “afflicted” blood gives them the power to create powerful illusions through music. Ages 13 and up.


Little Shaq: Star of the Week (Oct., $9.99) by Shaquille O’Neal continues the basketball star’s early chapter book series by exploring if Little Shaq can prove he’s responsible enough for a new pet. Ages 5-7.

The Great Shelby Holmes (Sept., $16.99) by Elizabeth Eulberg follows spunky sleuth Shelby and her sports-loving sidekick Watson as they take on a dognapper in this twist on Sherlock Holmes. Ages 8-12.

Rebellion of Thieves (Oct., $16.99) by Kekla Magoon. The second installment in a high-adventure retelling of the classic Robin Hood tale. Ages 8-12.

One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance (Jan., $18.99) by Nikki Grimes combines poetry inspired by the Harlem Renaissance with full-color, original art from contemporary African-American illustrators. Ages 10-14.

Piecing Me Together (Feb., $17.99) by Renée Watson follows a teen girl striving for success in a world that too often seems like it's trying to break her. Ages 13-up.

Stealing Snow (Sept., $17.99) by Danielle Paige brings a Maleficent-esque twist on “The Snow Queen,” from the villain's point of view that's equal parts love story and Frozen—all grown up. Ages 14-up.


Green Pants (Mar., $15.99) by Kenneth Kraegel. Jameson only ever wears green pants–but if he wants to be in his cousin’s wedding, he’s going to have to wear a tuxedo, and that means black pants. Ages 3-7.

Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets (Mar., $16.99) by Kwame Alexander, illus. by Ekua Holmes. A Newbery Medalist and a Caldecott Honoree offer original poems honoring 20 famed poets. Ages 8-12.


Frederick Douglass: The Lion Who Wrote History (Jan., $17.99) by Walter Dean Myers, illus. by Floyd Cooper. A picture book biography of the social reformer and abolitionist. Ages 4-8.

Muhammad Ali: A Champion Is Born (Jan., $17.99) by Gene Barretta, illus. by Frank Morrison, relates the childhood story of the boxing champion and how one pivotal moment set him on his path to become the Greatest of All Time. Ages 4-8.

Two Naomis (Sept., $16.99) by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich and Audrey Vernick follows two girls named Naomi—one black, one white—whose parents begin to date. Ages 8-12.

Allegedly (Jan., $17.99) by Tiffany D. Jackson. A teenage girl, convicted of an unspeakable crime at age nine, must find her voice to fight the past and tell what really happened. Ages 14-up.

American Street (Feb., $17.99) by Ibi Zoboi. A gritty love story set in Detroit addresses current issues like immigration, race, and class. Ages 14-up.

The Hate U Give (Feb., $17.99) by A.C. Thomas. A teen girl is the only witness to her friend's fatal shooting by a police officer. Ages 14-up.


The Playbook: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called Life (Feb., $14.99) by Kwame Alexander provides inspiration to help kids succeed on and off the court. Ages 10-12.

Midnight Without a Moon (Jan., $16.99) by Linda Williams Jackson blends a fictional portrait of an African-American family and factual events from a famous trial that provoked change in race relations in the United States. Ages 10-12.

The Mesmerist (Feb., $16.99) by Ronald Smith. In Victorian London, 13-year-old Jessamine Grace and her mother make a living as sham spiritualists—until they discover that Jess really can talk to the dead. Ages 10-12.

Girls Like Me (Oct., $17.99) by Lola StVil. Fifteen-year-old Shay Summers is trying to cope with the death of her father, being overweight, threats from a girl bully in school, and falling in love with a mysterious boy online. Ages 12-up.


Zoey and Sassafras: Dragons and Marshmallows, Book One (Mar., $5.99 paper) by Asia Citro follows Zoey and her cat Sassafras as they use the scientific method to help a sick baby dragon. Ages 5-10.


A Spy Called James: The True Story of James Lafayette, Revolutionary War Double Agent (Nov., $17.99) by Anne Rockwell, illus. by Floyd Cooper, introduces the true story of the slave who spied for George Washington's army during the American Revolution, and whose personal fight for freedom began with America's liberation. Ages 7-11.

Like a Bird: The Art of the American Slave Song (Sept., $19.99) by Cynthia Grady, illus. by Michele Wood, uses text, music, and illustrations to convey slave songs that drew on Biblical imagery to express the sorrow of life in bondage and offer a rallying cry. Ages 8-12.

Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday and the Power of a Protest Song (Feb., $19.99) by Gary Golio, illus. by Charlotte Riley-Webb, reveals how two outsiders—singer Billie Holiday, a young black woman, and Abel Meeropol, the son of Jewish immigrants—created "Strange Fruit," a song that challenged racism and paved the way for the Civil Rights movement. Ages 8-12.


Fancy Party Gowns: The Story of Fashion Designer Ann Cole Lowe (Jan., $17.99) by Deborah Blumenthal, illus. by Laura Freeman, introduces Ann Cole Lowe, a designer who often didn’t get credit for her work because she was African-American, but whose creations were an overwhelming success. Ages 4-8.


Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat (Oct., $17.99) by Javaka Steptoe proclaims that art doesn’t always have to be neat or clean–and definitely not inside the lines–to be beautiful. Ages 4-8.


The Life Fantastic: A Novel in Three Acts (Jan., $17.99) by Liza Ketchum. In 1913, a teenage actress wants to become a star, but when she finds friendship with a talented young black man, she joins the struggle to win equal rights denied to people of color. Ages 12-up.


Animal Ark: Celebrating Our Wild World in Poetry and Pictures (Feb., $15.99) by Kwame Alexander, photos by Joel Sartore, celebrates the beauty, diversity, and fragility of the animal world. Ages 4-8.

Shackles from the Deep: Tracing the Path of a Sunken Slave Ship, a Bitter Past and a Rich Legacy (Dec., $17.99) by Michael H. Cottman. The author's perspective as a journalist and scuba diver introduces young readers to the wonders of diving, detective work, and discovery, while shedding light on the history of slavery. Ages 10-up.

The March Against Fear: The 1966 Trek Along the Back Roads of Mississippi with James Meredith, Black Power and White Fear (Dec., $17.99) by Ann Bausum helps readers understand the complex issues of fear, injustice, and the challenges of change. Ages 12-up.


Let’s Clap, Jump, Sing & Shout; Dance, Spin & Turn It Out! (Jan., $24.99) by Patricia C. McKissack; illus. by Brian Pinkney collects stories, songs, and poetry accompanied by historical notes and the author’s personal memories. All ages.

My Name Is James Madison Hemings (Oct., $17.99) by Jonah Winter, illus. by Terry Widener, explores the life of the child of founding father Thomas Jefferson and his slave Sally Hemings. Ages 5-9.

MVP #4: The Basketball Blowout (Feb., paper $4.99) by David A. Kelly, illus. by Scott Brundage. A series that features a diverse cast of characters who learn about what it means to be most valuable players. Ages 6-9.

The Secret Life of Lincoln Jones (Oct., $16.99) by Wendelin Van Draanen. Multi-ethnic, multi-generational characters make up this story about a boy learning to be the brave hero of his own life. Ages 8-12.

Flying Lessons and Other Stories (Jan., $16.99) edited by Ellen Oh. Short stories and poetry highlighting the unique experiences of minority voices, presented in partnership with We Need Diverse Books. Ages 8-12.

Trailblazers: 33 Women in Science Who Changed the World (Sep., $15.99) by Rachel Swaby. Snapshot profiles of some of the world’s most influential women in science. Ages 10-up.

Becoming Me: A Work in Progress (Oct., paper $14.99) by Andrea Pippins combines positive affirmations, inspiring quotes, and artistic advice to create an interactive journal that celebrates all women and girls. Ages 12-up.

Girl Rising: Changing the World One Girl at a Time (Feb., $22.99) by Tanya Lee Stone collaborates with the makers of the film Girl Rising to show how educating girls in developing countries can break the cycle of poverty in just one generation. Ages 14-up.


When I Grow Up: Misty Copeland (Sept., $3.99) by Lexi Ryals, illus. by Erwin Madrid, journeys with Misty from her early days of ballet to become the first African-American female principal dancer for the prestigious American Ballet Theatre. Ages 6-8.

Little Rhino #4: The Talent Show (Sept., paper $5.99) by Ryan Howard and Krystle Howard, illus. by Erwin Madrid. When Rhino is surprised by how good his friend Carlos’s singing voice is, they decide to sign up for the talent show together–but can Rhino balance guitar lessons, baseball, and school? Ages 7-10.

Little Rhino #5: The Away Game (Dec., paper $5.99) by Ryan Howard and Krystle Howard. The Mustangs have a huge out-of-town tournament, which means it'll be Rhino's first time away from home. Will Rhino be able to enjoy the trip with his team, or will he be too homesick to have any fun–or concentrate on the big game? Ages 7-10

Liberty (Oct., $16.99) by Kirby Larson. In 1940s New Orleans, as Fish enlists the help of unexpected friends and allies to save a stray dog, he finds his perceptions of the world of race and war, family and friendship become transformed. Ages 8-12.

The Harlem Charade (Jan., $16.99) by Natasha Tarpley explores the way a community defines itself, the power of art to show truth, and what it really means to be home. Ages 8-12.

Unbound: A Novel in Verse (Sept., $16.99) by Ann E. Burg explores the remarkable story of runaway slaves who sought sanctuary in the wilds of the Great Dismal Swamp. Ages 9-12.

Riding Chance (Oct., $16.99) by Christine Kendall charts an urban kid's redemption through the grit and power of polo. Ages 10-14.

Overturned (Mar., $17.99) by Lamar Giles. Following her father’s release from prison, the past threatens everything and Nikki is drawn into his deadly hunt for the truth. Ages 12-up.


Disenchanted: Trials of Cinderella (Oct., $17.99) by Megan Morrison reimagines the Cinderella story and expands the world of Tyme. Ages 8-12.

Cleo Edison Oliver in Persuasion Power (Jan., $16.99) by Sundee T. Frazier. When Cleo's customers get fed up with her direction, she might lose her friends and her chance to shine. Can she win back her friends, take her business to the next level, and find the family she's been looking for? Ages 8-12.


Under the Moon: Jazz Standards and Lullabies by Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Nina Simone… (Nov., $16.95) selected by Misja Fitzgerals Michel, illus. by Ilya Green. Thirteen timeless jazz standards and dream songs meant to lull babies into sleep. Ages up to 3.


Dork Diaries 11: Tales from a Not-So-Friendly Frenemy (Nov., $13.99) by Rachel Renée Russell. Nikki and her friends Brandon, Chloe, and Zoey are up for another adventure. Ages 9-13.


Antoinette (Feb., $17.99) by Kelly DiPucchio, illus. by Christian Robinson. Antoinette, a very special poodle, learns to follow her heart and be herself in this companion to the authors’ beloved Gaston. Ages 4-8.

The Legendary Miss Lena Horne (Jan., $17.99) by Carole Boston Weatherford, iIllus. by Elizabeth Zunon, celebrates the life of Lena Horne, the pioneering African-American actress, singer, and civil rights activist. Ages 4-8.

Martin's Dream Day (Jan., $17.99) by Kitty Kelley, photos by Stanley Tretick, brings the historic 1963 March on Washington to life for a new generation. Ages 5-up.

Ashes (Oct., $16.99) by Laurie Halse Anderson. In the third and final installment of the Seeds of America trilogy, Isabel and Curzon search for their own freedom. Ages 12-up.


Lift Your Light a Little Higher: The Story of Stephen Bishop, Slave-Explorer (Sept., $17.99) by Heather Henson, illus. by Bryan Collier, follows the Mammoth Cave explorer—and slave—Stephen Bishop through the world’s largest cave system in a homage to the resilience of human nature. Ages 4- 8.

Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life (Sept., $17.99) by Ashley Bryan uses original slave auction and plantation estate documents to contrast the monetary value of a slave with the priceless value of life experiences and dreams that a slave owner could never take away. Ages 6-10.

Ghost (Sept., $16.99) by Jason Reynolds. Ghost wants to be the fastest sprinter on his elite middle school track team, but his past is slowing him down in this first of a brand-new series. Ages 10-up.


Things Too Huge to Fix by Saying Sorry (Sept., $16.99) by Susan Vaught. The more Dani learns about her grandmother’s past, the more she learns about herself and her own friendships—and it’s not all good news. Ages 10-14.


The Golden Girls of Rio (Nov., $16.99) by Nikkolas Smith sees athletes Simone Biles, Katie Ledecky, Michelle Carter, and Simone Manuel as little girls, and revisits their triumphs in achieving Olympic gold. Ages 4-8.


An Apple for Harriet Tubman (Nov., $6.99 paper) by Glennette Tilley Turner, illus. by Susan Keeter, captures the courageous acts of abolitionist and humanitarian, Harriet Tubman. Ages 4-8.

Climbing Lincoln’s Steps (Nov., $6.99 paper) by Suzanne Slade, illus. by Colin Bootman showcases the significant moments in African-American history that tie back to the Lincoln Memorial. Ages 4-8.

Grandmama’s Pride (Nov., $6.99 paper) by Becky Birtha, illus. by Colin Bootman. This historical account of the segregated South is told through the eyes of an African-American child. Ages 4-8.

Night on Fire (Sept., $9.99 paper) by Ronald Kidd explores racial injustice and the Freedom Riders. Ages 9-12.


Spy on History: Mary Bowser and the Civil War Spy Ring (Jan., $12.95) by Enigma Alberti, illus. by Tony Cliff, dramatizes how Mary Bowser pretended to be illiterate, evaded detection, used her photographic memory to “copy” critical documents, and includes spycraft materials for readers to unravel clues embedded in the text and illustrations to discover where Mary hid her secret diary. Ages 10-14.

Return to the main feature.